The King of Pop’s story is coming to the big screen.
A Michael Jackson biopic, simply titled Michael, is beginning production and casting the famous faces who will play the important characters surrounding the iconic and complicated performer.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by Oscar nominee John Logan and produced by the team behind Bohemian Rhapsody, Michael will star Jackson’s real-life nephew, Jaafar Jackson, as the titular performer, and a host of Hollywood heavy hitters as his friends and family members.
“I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life,” Jaafar said on Instagram, posting the first pic of him rehearsing his uncle’s legendary dance moves. “To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.”
A press release on the film states: “Michael will bring audiences a riveting and honest portrayal of the brilliant yet complicated man who became known worldwide as the King of Pop. The film presents his triumphs and tragedies on an epic, cinematic scale — from his human side and personal struggles to his undeniable creative genius, captured by his most iconic performances. As never before, audiences will experience an inside look into one of the most influential, trailblazing artists the world has ever known.”
Here’s a look at everyone who’s been cast in Michael so far:
Jaafar Jackson as Michael Jackson
The 27-year-old will make his feature debut stepping into some big (and gravity-defying) shoes, but it seems to be a role he was born to play.
In an interview with EW, Fuqua said he was “blown away” by Jaafar’s portrayal of his uncle. “It’s uncanny how much he’s like Michael. Sounds like him, dances like him, sings. It’s really uncanny,” he said.
Juliano Krue Valdi will also star as a younger version of Michael.
Colman Domingo as Joe Jackson
The Emmy winner and recent Oscar nominee will star as the mercurial Jackson family patriarch, a complicated character who was undeniably instrumental in shaping who his talented son grew up to become.
In a press release announcing his casting, Domingo expressed his excitement about being part of a film that delves into the soul of the iconic King of Pop and his profound impact on music and culture globally.
“Not only am I fortunate to have a rich, complex, and flawed character to portray in Joe Jackson, but I also have a front-row seat for Jaafar’s incredible transformation,” he stated. “There is something divine about the way that Jaafar is channeling his late uncle. His talent and embodiment of Michael’s essence is simply on another level.”
Producer Graham King praised Domingo’s screen presence and force of will, stating, “Few actors present themselves with Colman’s undeniable talent. We’re so fortunate to have an actor with his undeniable talent portraying Joe Jackson on screen. We couldn’t be more excited to have him join us on this journey.”
Fuqua also praised Domingo’s “incredible range” as an actor, and expressed gratitude for working with an actor with the passion and ability to portray the many sides of Joe Jackson: a husband, father, and manager.
Nia Long as Katherine Jackson
The actress will play the mother of Jackson and his eight siblings, who later served as guardian to Jackson’s own three children following his death in 2009.
Long commented on joining the cast in a press release, expressing, “Katherine Jackson is an incredible pillar of strength and grace for the entire Jackson family.”
“As a mother, she was selfless and endured forces beyond her control yet still managed to help build a legacy beyond measure,” Long said of Katherine, now 93. “I am honored to bring her voice to the screen and share Michael Jackson’s story with audiences everywhere.”
Miles Teller as John Branca
The Top Gun: Maverick star joined the Michael cast as John Branca, the powerful entertainment lawyer who began managing Jackson after Jackson fired his father from the role. He was instrumental in shepherding the King of Pop’s career to the level of superstardom he reached in the 1980s, and worked with him until his death — later serving as a co-executor of Jackson’s estate.
“Miles is a compelling screen presence, whom I’ve admired since watching him in Whiplash. He’s the perfect actor to capture John’s enigmatic persona,” said producer Graham King in a press release. “From our earliest development conversations, it was clear the emotional connection that John still has to Michael. He graciously allowed us to use him as a character in the film and I’m thrilled that it’s Miles who will portray a relationship that extended over 3 decades, through Michael’s greatest triumphs and most difficult days.”
Fuqua added, “Miles’ finely tuned skills as an actor are up to the challenge of playing a man who is being examined for the pivotal role he played in Michael Jackson’s life. He is the perfect actor to disappear into the role of John Branca.”
Michael is scheduled to be released on April 18, 2025.
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